After officer's death, don't turn suspect into...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

After officer's death, don't turn suspect into a martyr

I was saddened to learn of the death of Baltimore police officer Kevon M. Gavin ("City officer killed in crash had come back for action," April 22).

I'm sure that over the next several weeks, media outlets will exploit the incident by talking to family and friends of the driver suspected of killing Mr. Gavin, who will explain how Eric Stennett erred by "falling in with the wrong crowd."

I know stories such as these sell newspapers and gain public attention.

However, the fact is that Mr. Stennett is a thug who made a choice to take the life of another human being.

If convicted, he should pay for his decision by spending a lengthy period with the "wrong crowd" at one of our correctional facilities.

Mayor Martin O'Malley and Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris have their work cut out for them in making Baltimore a safer city.

It is the responsibility of every city leader to put race aside and support this administration.

Without such support, tragic incidents such as the death of Officer Gavin will continue. Criminals need to know that we as a community will hold them accountable for their actions, instead of turning them into martyrs.

The mayor's office and the police department are committed to changing Baltimore for the better. It is now time for the community to put up or shut up.

Mark S. Chaney

Forest Hill

Confront drug-dealers; support police commissioner

My husband is a lifelong resident of Baltimore and I have lived here 51 years. The decline in our city's safety we have seen is unreal.

My sister lives in the city also. Her neighborhood is in worse shape than ours. I cannot go visit her without dealers approaching me to sell drugs.

My sister and her husband have taken a stand against the drug dealers. As a result, a drug dealer tried to run over my niece. My nephew was beaten up by the same drug-dealer and his cohorts.

My niece's cat was run over and killed by another drug dealer. Drug dealers also threatened to fire-bomb my sister's home.

This is a scary and horrible way to live.

Why are drug dealers in the community known to police and still allowed to sell drugs openly?

I have read about Edward T. Norris' background and listened to him carefully. He is the right choice for police Commissioner.

Let's get on with the job of restoring sanity and safety to our city.

Patricia M. Cummings

Baltimore

Both houses and guns are safer when locked

Is Sanford Abrams trying to tell me that he doesn't lock his car or house when he leaves them ("How many more restricting gun laws do we need," letter April 22)?

Locks have not stopped all criminal acts but I'd be willing to bet the last penny in my 401(k) they have reduced the number and have stopped many of them.

I know that I will continue to lock my doors.

But I agree with Mr. Abrams that the mish-mash of gun laws on the books don't seem to have done much.

That is why I propose scrapping them and starting over three national laws:

All guns must be registered and their owners finger-printed.

Require background checks for all gun sales, public or private.

Enforce mandatory, severe consequences for all criminal acts committed with a gun.

Of course, these laws would not stop all acts of violence in this country, but I do believe they would noticeably reduce them.

Ken Ungerecht

Jessup

Sanford Abrams states that "a lock has never stopped a criminal from stealing someone's automobile, burglarizing a house, or robbing a store." I beg to differ.

Is Mr. Abrams suggesting that society is safer if I'm armed and leave my house unlocked? A more rational approach is to lock my car, my house and my guns.

While no one doubts that will tamper with internal gun locks, it is paramount that gun manufacturers engineer this technology to prevent that.

Mr. Abrams also suggests that gun locks will not reduce firearms accidents. But how many 6 year olds will be able to bypass this technology?

An internal lock on handguns is an idea whose time has come. Otherwise, the Attorney General J. Joseph Currans of the world will seek and get a ban on handguns.

Kirk Fairfield

Towson

Zimbabwe's violence merits aid cut-off

The letter "Land expropriation is justified in Zimbabwe" (April 19) applauds expropriation of white farmers' lands.

I suppose the author also applauds President Robert Mugabe when he vilifies white farmers as "enemies of the people" and urges squatters to attack them.

I assume he revels in the fact that four ranchers were recently killed and five others were beaten severely and had their dwellings burned.

President Mugabe isn't assertive; he's a violent thug and the United States is justified in withholding funding from him and his cohorts in Zimbabwe.

Sharon Drescher

Glenelg

I thought the recent letter supporting Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's expropriation of land from the white settlers was excellent.

But I am sure that since we overpowered, raped, killed and forced into prison reservations this country's indigenous population, the author would agree that we should correct our own sins first.

Perhaps he should show the rest of us the path by giving back all his land and his assets to the Indians.

J. Edward Johnston Jr.

Timonium

The issue is good nursing, not the cost of training

I applaud

cmhere Barbara Heller for her letter "Cost of nursing school isn't the real problem," letters April 14). The shortage of nurses is not the result of rising nursing school tuition costs.

As a recruiter, I've learned that students enter nursing schools to become the best nurses they can be. We need to develop ways to improve the image of nursing to attract the most motivated people .

The quality of patient care is the most important issue facing hospitals today. Nurses are a hospital's best advertising.

Roxanne L. Giannerini

Baltimore

The writer is president of Recruitment Specialists Inc.

We must limit population and the impact of each person

Please don't ever refer to population growth as an environmental problem, as The Sun did in its editorial "Renewable pledge for Earth Day" (April 23), without adding that we can do something about it.

Population growth is not the only cause of any environmental problem.

Our ability and willingness to befoul our air, water, and land, wipe out whole species of animals and plants, and squander the natural resources that keep us alive has become so awesome that a fraction of today's population could easily, over time, make the Earth uninhabitable.

So stopping population growth would not by itself save the world. We also have to reduce our per-person impact.

But our best efforts to reduce resource consumption and pollution per person will not save the world, either, if the number of consumers and polluters keeps growing.

The best thing this country can do to stop that growth is to more generously aid family planning in poor countries.

Cliff Terry

Baltimore

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